Families Self-Certified Ads SDK Policy

Google Play is committed to building a safe experience for children and families. A key part of this is to help ensure children only see ads that are appropriate for their age and that their data is handled appropriately. To achieve this goal, we require ads SDKs and mediation platforms to self-certify that they are appropriate for children and compliant with Google Play Developer Program Policies and Google Play Families Policies, including Families Self-Certified Ads SDK Program Requirements.

The Google Play Families Self-Certified Ads SDK Program is an important way for developers to identify which ads SDKs or mediation platforms have self-certified that they are appropriate for use in apps designed specifically for children. 

Misrepresentation of any information about your SDK, including in your interest form application, may result in removal or suspension of your SDK from the Families Self-Certified Ads SDK Program, so it is important to provide accurate information.

Policy requirements

If your SDK or mediation platform serves apps that are part of the Google Play Families Program, you must comply with all Google Play Developer Policies, including the following requirements. Failure to satisfy any policy requirements may result in removal or suspension from the Families Self-Certified Ads SDK Program.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your SDK or mediation platform is compliant, so please be sure to review Google Play Developer Program Policies, Google Play Families Policies, and Families Self-Certified Ads SDK Program Requirements.

  1. Ad content: Your ad content that is accessible to children must be appropriate for children.
    • You must (i) define objectionable ad content and behaviors and (ii) prohibit them in your terms or policies. The definitions should comply with Google Play Developer Program Policies.
    • You must also create a method to rate your ad creatives according to age appropriate groups. Age appropriate groups must at least include groups for Everyone and Mature. The rating methodology must align with the methodology that Google supplies to SDKs once they have filled out the interest form.
    • You must ensure that when real-time bidding is used to serve ads to children, the creatives have been reviewed and comply with the above requirements.
    • In addition, you must have a mechanism to visually identify creatives coming from your inventory (for example, watermarking the ad creative with a visual logo of your company or similar functionality).
  2. Ad format: You must ensure that all ads displayed to child users follow the Families ad format requirements, and you must allow developers to select ad formats that are compliant with Google Play Families policy.
    • Advertising must not have deceptive content or be designed in a way that will result in inadvertent clicks from child users. Deceptive ads that force the user to click-through by using a dismiss button to trigger another ad, or by making ads suddenly appear in areas of the app where the user usually taps for another function are not allowed.
    • Disruptive advertising, including advertising that takes up the entire screen or interferes with normal use and does not provide a clear means to dismiss the ad (for example, Ad walls), is not allowed.
    • Advertising that interferes with normal app use or game play, including rewarded or opt-in ads, must be closeable after 5 seconds.
    • Multiple ad placements on a page are not allowed. For example, banner ads that show multiple offers in one placement or displaying more than one banner or video ad is not allowed.
    • Advertising must be clearly distinguishable from app content. Offerwalls and immersive ads experiences that are not clearly identifiable as advertising by child users are not allowed.
    • Advertising must not use shocking or emotionally manipulative tactics to encourage ads viewing.
  3. IBA/Remarketing: You must ensure that ads displayed to child users do not involve interest-based advertising (advertising targeted at individual users who have certain characteristics based on their online browsing behavior) or remarketing (advertising targeted at individual users based on previous interaction with an app or website).
  4. Data practices: You, the SDK provider, must be transparent in how you handle user data (for example, information collected from or about a user, including device information). That means disclosing your SDK’s access, collection, use, and sharing of the data, and limiting the use of the data to the purposes disclosed. These Google Play requirements are in addition to any requirements prescribed by applicable privacy and data protection laws. You must disclose the collection of any personal and sensitive information from children including, but not limited to, authentication information, microphone and camera sensor data, device data, Android ID, and ad usage data.
    • You must allow developers, on a per-request or per-app basis, to request child-directed treatment for ad serving. Such treatment must be in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, such as the US Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA) and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
      • Google Play requires ads SDKs to disable personalized ads, interest based advertising, and remarketing as part of the child-directed treatment.
    • You must ensure that when real-time bidding is used to serve ads to children, the privacy indicators are propagated to the bidders.
    • You must not transmit AAID, SIM Serial, Build Serial, BSSID, MAC, SSID, IMEI, and/or IMSI from children or users of unknown age.
  5. Mediation Platforms: When serving ads to children, you must:
    • Only use Families Self-Certified Ads SDKs or implement safeguards necessary to ensure that all ads served from mediation comply with these requirements; and
    • Pass information necessary to mediation platforms to indicate the ad content rating and any applicable child-directed treatment.
  6. Self-Certification and Compliance: You must provide Google with sufficient information, such as information indicated in the interest form, to verify the ads SDK's policy compliance with all self-certification requirements including, but not limited to:
    • Providing an English language version of your SDK or Mediation Platform’s Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, and Publisher Integration Guide
    • Submitting a sample test app which uses the latest compliant version of the ads SDK. The sample test app should be a fully built and executable Android APK that utilizes all the features of the SDK. Test app requirements:
      • Must be submitted as a fully-built and executable Android APK meant to run on a phone form factor.
      • Must use the latest released, or soon to be released version of the ads SDK that adheres to Google Play policies.
      • Must use all of the features of your ads SDK including calling your ads SDK to retrieve and display ads.
      • Must have full access to all live/serving ad inventories on the network via creatives requested through the test app.
      • Must not be restricted by geolocation.
      • If your inventory is for a mixed audience, your test app must be capable of differentiating between requests for ad creatives from full inventory and the inventory suitable for kids or all age groups.
      • Must not be restricted to specific ads within the inventory unless it is controlled by the neutral age screen.
  7. You must respond in a timely manner to any subsequent requests for information and self-certify that all new version releases are compliant with the latest Google Play Developer Program Policies, including Families Policy Requirements.
  8. Legal compliance: Families Self-Certified Ads SDKs must support ad serving that complies with all relevant statutes and regulations concerning children that may apply to their publishers.
    • You must ensure that your SDK or mediation platform is compliant with the U.S. Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA), E.U. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and any other applicable laws or regulations.

      Note: The word "children" can mean different things in different locales and in different contexts. It is important that you consult with your legal counsel to help determine what obligations and/or age-based restrictions may apply to your app. You know best how your app works so we are relying on you to help us make sure apps on Google Play are safe for families.

Please refer to the Families Self-Certified Ads SDK Program page for more details on Program requirements.

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